Meet the ZZ Plant!

Meet the ZZ Plant!

My name is Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, but you can call me "ZZ Plant" or "Eternity Plant" (because I'm so hard to kill!). I'm perfect for your desk because I can survive long business trips without water.


ZZ Plants' History in the Wild, and Why They're Ideal for Your Desk

Native to eastern Africa, ZZ Plants were cultivated by the Dutch when they colonized the area. The glossy appearance of the leaves helps the plant conserve water during long periods of drought. Although the mature fronds tend to grow slowly, during the spring your ZZ Plant will likely spurn new growths. These new leaves appear as small “spears,” but quickly grow into bright green branches straight from their roots.

Notable features

ZZ Plants have compound leaves, which means that the "spear" that comes out of the soil is one leaf, and the "leaves" are technically called "leaflets." How cute!

They have potato-like rhizomes near the roots that store water and technically make this plant a succulent. Therefore, it can survive long periods of neglect, including the sabbatical that your company's sales manager had to take after last quarter's disappointing revenue numbers. As your plant grows, you won't have to worry about repotting often as it does well with a crowded root system.

You may also want to regularly and gently wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth or paper towel, as dust can clog the tiny holes the plants use to expel oxygen.

Bringing Your New Frond Home

First, give your ZZ Plant a name. It makes it easier to remember to care for your plants when they have names. "ZZelda" or “SuZZan” are great options, but get creative! Second, find a spot away from the window, that has access to medium light. Look at your Desk Plants care card and set a watering reminder using your iPhone's custom reminders, Siri, Amazon Alexa or your Google Home.


Feel free to contact us on instagram @desk_plants or via email and add a photo. Otherwise, you can use the chart below to try to diagnose your issue.

What I look like when I get:

Not Enough

Too Much


Shriveled leaflets, especially at the tip (it will likely take a LONG time for a ZZ to show signs of dehydration)

Leaflets drooping or slumping        

random brown spots

leaflets turn from yellow to brown, especially near the soil

Light / Sun

Plant may stretch out vertically with lots of space between the leaflets, and may fall over (this is the plant "reaching" for more light)

Crispy leaflets, but generally, the more light the better


Keep me away from cold drafts!

The hotter it gets, the more leaves I produce

Pro Tips for Advanced Plant Parents

You can multiply your ZZ Plant fam two ways: by simply dividing up the plant once it outgrows its pot, or by growing a brand new plant from the leaflets.


To divide your ZZ Plant, choose a place that can handle getting messy, like the lawn outside your office. Slide your plant out of the pot, and try to separate the plant into sections at the roots. If your ZZ Plant is especially ambitious and filled its pot with roots and rhizomes, you might have trouble getting them separated. Don’t be afraid to cut it apart with a clean pair of scissors. You can aim to take out and repot a section that is about a quarter to a third of the plant’s original size. Once you’ve separated the plant into more manageable sections, you can put the larger one back in the pot and backfill it with well-draining cactus or succulent soil, then you can pot the smaller section into a new pot to take home, or you can give it to your work friends.

Propagation from Leaves and Leaflets

You can convince a ZZ Plant to grow brand new roots two ways: either from a stem cutting or from the leaflet itself.

To propagate via stem cutting, choose a healthy looking leaf spear, and cut it with clean, disinfected scissors near the surface of the soil. Remove the lower leaflets, as they can rot when submerged in water. Place your cutting in a clear container with 1-2 inches of water, and choose a place with bright indirect light.

If you’d rather not cut an entire leaf stem, you can use a single leaflet to do the same (although the process may be slower). To propagate via a leaflet, choose a healthy looking specimen from the bottom of one of the leaf stems. You can either gently pull it off where it joins the stem, or cut it with clean scissors. The process is essentially the same as above, where you can submerge the bottom of the leaf in an ounce of water, and change the water every few days. After a few weeks, you should see roots protruding from the bottom of the leaf:

Regardless of which method you use, you can transfer to soil once the roots are about an inch long. Choose a small pot at first, and increase the size as your plant grows. Be careful not to overwater, but you may find that younger plants need water more frequently than their adult counterparts. Enjoy your new ZZ Plant!

Warning: ZZ Plants are very toxic. They might be nice to look at, but please keep away from hungry kids and pets.

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